Thirteen rural teachers honored in UNK’s One Room, One Teacher program

KEARNEY – Thirteen rural schoolteachers were honored during the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s One Room, One Teacher ceremony Friday at UNK’s College of Education building.

The program started in 2012 to honor teachers who taught in one-room schools. More than $150,000 has been raised to help support student scholarships. To date, there have been 77 one-room teachers honored through this program.

“The One Room, One Teacher program honors the legacy of rural school teachers in Nebraska,” said Sheryl Feinstein, dean of the UNK College of Education. “The one-room schoolteachers played a vital role in creating a firm foundation for education. Their students make our state and nation what it is today.”

Approximately 120 people attended the ceremon, where the second annual student scholarships were awarded to Cynthia Biggs, an early childhood education major from Minden; Kara Dauel, an elementary education major from Pleasanton; and Fayth Ryan, an elementary education major from Columbus.

For more information about the One Room, One Teacher program, contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 308-698-5270 or visit the University of Nebraska Foundation website at

2016 One Room, One Teacher Honorees

Madeline Willard Adelung completed the One Year College Diploma course from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1942. She taught at Sand Puppy Country School, District #89; Maple Grove, District #90; Cat Creek Country School, District #244; Miller Grammar School; and Buda Rural School, District #11. She retired in 1947.

Agnes Cumming Ericson began teaching in the one-room school at District #26 in 1924 and taught through the Depression, keeping her family’s farm from foreclosure. Ericson also taught at Boone County, District #31; Platte County, District #68; and in Monroe. She retired in 1969 from District #26, but continued to substitute teach on occasion.

Carrie Bogseth Gangwish began teaching in 1908 in country schools in Greeley and Sherman counties. Over the course of the next eight years, Gangwish taught at Dry Cedar, Clear Creek, Verdurette, Wiggle Creek, Giltner and Juniata, taking a year-and-a-half off in 1915 to return to Nebraska State Normal School in Kearney to earn a diploma and a Life Certificate. In 1919, Gangwish married and retired from teaching, but served on the school board, taught Sunday school and became president of the WCTU in Nebraska.

Marguerite Kaufman Gronewold started teaching in 1936 at District #86 near Cozad before marrying and taking time away from teaching to be a mother. In the 1950s, she started teaching again in a one-room school at District #31 near Cairo while also taking classes at Nebraska State Teachers College. She graduated with her degree in 1964. She taught at Phillips and then Grand Island until she retired.

Doris I. Wagner Horrocks taught for eight years in one-room schools in Madison and Antelope counties as well as at Bunker Hill District #10 where she attended school herself. She began teaching at just 17 years old. After retiring from teaching to be a wife and mother, Horrocks taught Sunday school for another 15 years.

Neva C. Kanost began teaching at Arapahoe Public Schools in 1948. She attended Nebraska State Teachers College and received her degree in 1962. She became a principal and administrator in 1963, then returned to Kearney State College and graduated with her master’s degree in 1971. Kanost retired in 1990 but still enjoyed volunteering in the kindergarten class.

Dorothy Ericson Maurer began teaching in 1949 at only 16 years old. She taught at District #35 for three years before marrying and starting work on her degree from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1952. After a time teaching on the west coast with her military husband, she received her degree in 1962 from the University of Nebraska. Her teaching posts included schools in Thayer, Olathe (Kansas), Phillips and Engleman Elementary School (Hall County).

Leila Rhodes May began her teaching career in 1950 at District #55 where she taught grades kindergarten through eighth. She taught there for three years before spending a year at District #24, after which she returned to District #55.

Betty Parker Zwiener Rodehorst taught at the Maple Grove one-room school for two years, beginning in 1953, before marrying. At her encouragement, all five of her children earned bachelor degrees from Kearney State College.

Lois N. Shuck taught in one-room schools for a career spanning five decades. She taught through the Great Depression, World War II and into the Watergate era. Most of her years were spent teaching at Portland Heights School, but she also taught at Cadams and Hardy in Nuckolls County. After taking classes over the course of many summers, she received her degree from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1960.

Roberta Maurer Sohrweid began teaching in 1956 at District #8 then for the 1958-59 school year at District #70, both in Seward County. She received her degree in 1964 from Western State Colorado University and later her master’s from the University of Colorado – Denver. She went on to teach for 38 years before retiring from Jefferson County Schools.

L. Leone Sommerfeld began teaching Sunday school as a teenager, then moved on to Willow Hedge in Polk County where she had two students. The following year, she taught at District 51 in Adams County. She went on to earn her degree from Nebraska State Teachers College and continued teaching in a variety of capacities for the next seventy years.

Marvin Stone taught the 1950-51 school year in a one-room school at District #57 in Platte County during his college education. He had students in the second, fourth and seventh grades. After that school year, he finished his degree at Wayne State, spent two years in the army and taught nine years of English and geography in Iowa and Nebraska before becoming a geography professor at Kearney State College/UNK for 32 years.


Contact: Tricia Danburg, UNK Alumni Association, 308-698-5271,